How do I improve my web site performance in search engines (SEO)? When I first started learning about SEO the rules of the game were very different. We had to invest a lot of time in ensuring that we had the necessary key words and phrases embedded in the HTML of our web sites.
At a recent conference (SMART Social Media for Business Conference) I learned that Google can change the algorithm up to seven times a day so it is rather a moving target. I then subjected myself to two whole Saturdays learning about the intricacies of the current best practice. Here, in a nutshell, is what I learned to improve performance in search engines:
- Update your web site content on a regular basis (it can take a month for changes to be seen by Google)
- Sign up for Google webmaster tools and Google Analytics
- Work out your long tail keywords (i.e. what phrases people might use to search for the information on your site – avoid short tail phrases such as “divorce lawyer” and concentrate on longer ones such as “divorce lawyer for Spanish husband with wife and children in England”)
- Forget the old advice about the importance of meta-tags for SEO – except the meta-description tag which is sometimes used as the descriptive snippet in the SERPs
- Consider LSI – Latent Search Indexing (e.g. lawnmowers often appear alongside strimmers, so lawyers might appear alongside support for the elderly)
- Use keywords in headings. Another source I saw suggested that you devote as much time to crafting your headings as you do to the body copy
- Keep to one page per search topic – with 20% unique content on each page – and optimise one page at a time
- Acquire used domain names as older names are more favoured by Google
- With the advent of blended search, there are opportunities for using good captions on images and videos
There was also some discussion about the perils of “black hat SEO” – BMW was once removed from Google for three months after setting up numerous false links to its site.
Broader reading and subsequent talking to specialists revealed the following tips:
- Generate valuable content that other (quality) sites will want to link to – write as much as necessary, no more and no less
- Let people know that your web site is out there – comment on high ranking blogs in your sector (this is a key element of digital PR – reaching the influences and opinion makers)
- Create your own blog (you can cross-reference to your web site and post links through social media which are quality sites where links back will help)
- Network, network, network (on and off line)
- Ask the people who link to your competitors to link to you
- Encourage links within your content using descriptive anchor text
- Submit your site to high quality directories (including things like Google Local)
- Use “bait” links (downloads, free reports, e-books etc)
- Offer to swap links with a few relevant, high quality sites
- Get all fee-earners to link to the site from LinkedIn, Twitter and other social media sites – with anchor text on the links
So, in a nutshell the current view on SEO (although it’s a moving target) is:
- Ensure that you have good quality, natural language and regularly updated content on your site (blogs can be a great help here)
- Use appropriate long tail keywords – especially in titles and anchor text
- Encourage good quality sites to link to your site
There is additional information on the topic of SEO in one of the books I recently reviewed:
I’d welcome any further tips and hints from those who are specialists in the field.
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